Royal Homecoming
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“Royal Homecoming,” New Era, Sept. 1996, 33

Royal Homecoming

It was an honor I really wanted. But in the end there was something nice about not being named Homecoming queen.

Although I acted as if I didn’t care, I really did want to win. After all, the opportunity to be the high school Homecoming queen only comes around once in a lifetime. And, it seemed to me, this was my one and only chance to be considered royalty.

When my name was announced as one of the three nominees, I was surprised. I wasn’t a cheerleader, and I wasn’t dating the quarterback. I’d created my own niche in school—doing activities that weren’t necessarily in the spotlight.

This would be a crowning accomplishment to have in my high school years, I thought. Royalty, huh? I could get used to that title.

The winner would be announced at halftime of the Saturday afternoon football game. The day before the game, I was sitting in my seminary class. People around me were predicting who would be crowned queen. Still wearing my facade of apathy, I took a deep breath, reminding myself that I’d survive even if I didn’t win. And remember, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if I’m royalty or not.

My heart pulsing heavily, I looked up at the teacher, hoping to divert my attention from the Homecoming chatter. Behind him on the bulletin board hung the same Mormonad poster that had been on my bedroom wall for years.

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

My heart soared as I read again, but understood for the first time, how to look at life. Homecoming queen or not, I could concentrate on a more important thing—to be nice. If I did that, I would always be royalty in a more important, eternal sense.

Saturday came quickly, but halftime did not. The sun shone brightly on the brown October day, my 17th birthday. When the time approached, my dad escorted me to the field as the spectators watched us girls teeter out in our high heels. The announcer began, “We’d like to announce our Homecoming queen, …”

My mind wandered as I reminded myself of Friday’s realization. No matter how important or unimportant I might be, I could be royally nice to those with whom I came in contact. When I came back to reality, they were crowning the girl next to me as queen.

As I walked off the field, I smiled inside and out.

Although I’d missed my chance to be a high school queen, I hadn’t missed my opportunity to recognize my royal beginnings. We have a noble birthright, and that can’t be changed. I also realized that I should care whether I was royalty or not in a spiritual sense. Apathy has no place in our royal relationships with our Heavenly Father.

Unlike the Homecoming queen contest, it’s entirely up to us to accept the royal gifts and blessings our Father in Heaven offers to us. The Lord has crowned us all with eternal importance, and one way we can honor this noble birth is by treating others with the respect and consideration they deserve and letting that be more important to us than worldly honors.

Photography by John Luke